Design and Control of a Rotary Inverted Pendulum; Automotive Right to Repair: Legislation as Political Artifacts

Seymour, Aaron, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Fitzgerald, Gerard, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Momot, Michael, EN-Mech & Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia

The goal of the technical project was to design and develop a functional rotary inverted pendulum (RIP) for use as a teaching aide by Professor Michael Momot when demonstrating control theory to UVA undergraduates. The RIP is meant to be carried from room to room, and set up quickly and with minimal space necessary. Additionally the RIP must be easily disassembled and repairable in the event of wear and tear.

Repair is the synthetic connection between the technical project and STS paper. Repairability was an important factor while designing the RIP, with one of the criteria being that it be easy to disassemble and repairable. Repairability is also of great importance in the Right to Repair debate which the STS paper centers around.

As automotive technology advances, car companies can improve the quality of their products, but doing so also increases their complexity. Third party services such as independent mechanics and service centers struggle to react to this increased complexity without the necessary specialized knowledge or equipment. In an industry as massive as the automotive aftermarket, problems can ruin the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of people. Right to Repair is potentially the most important regulation protecting third parties in automotive aftermarkets. Right to Repair is a blanket term for bills, proposals, memorandums, and state laws which directly address consumer’s right to accessible repair and maintenance information or practices for automobiles and automobile systems. Prior to the industrial revolution, the right of a consumer to repair their product was a matter of course. In the days when the vast majority of equipment and tools were homemade, the act of repair was limited by the owner’s ability to repair; so while repair was perhaps more difficult, there was very little to restrict a consumer’s right to repair. The industrial revolution brought with it mass production and factory production, the combination of these factors meant complicated production processes were not only possible, but economically feasible on large production scales. This massive increase in the complexity of products created a disparity of capability, and with it the first distinction between producer and consumer. The consumer’s right to repair was placed in the hands of the producers.

The right to repair has been increasingly ignored by those producers who control it, and the call for federal legislation has grown in kind. Automotive Right to Repair regulation has been adopted at the state level in several forms since an initial senate proposal in 2001. While advancements since then have been significant, automotive Right to Repair is still lacking in several key capacities. Fortunately, the automotive industry is enormous, and there are of course many different associations, conglomerates, alliances and unions which are happy to put forward their own solutions. All these organizations benefit from supporting the right to repair, but not all benefit from the right to repair. This STS paper investigates the political motivations on the issue of the right to repair in the auto aftermarket as understood from the Winner perspective, using the REPAIR Act and Automotive Repair Data Sharing Commitment (Pact) as artifacts designed by their associated interest groups.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Rotary Inverted Pendulum, Right to Repair, Automotive Industry

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Technical Advisor: Michael Momot
STS Advisor: Gerard Fitzgerald
Technical Team Members: Aaron Seymour, Jimmy Garza, Charles Wermter

Issued Date: